Thursday, July 20, 2017

MusclePharm BCAA 3:1:2 Review — Why the Different Ratio?

6 Tips to Make Counting Your Macros Way Easier

Chris Bridgeford Deadlifts 370kg for Five Reps at 119kg Bodyweight

Dave Castro Announces 1RM Clean & Jerk Team Event at the 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games

Watch This 52-Year-Old Smash the World Record for Most Push-Ups In an Hour

In the Body Club Fitness Center in Margaret River, Western Australia, construction worker Carlton Williams has hit a pretty serious PR.

Well, it’s an all-time WR, actually: Two thousand, six hundred and eighty-two push-ups in one hour. Oh, and he’s 52 years old.

What makes this achievement all the sweeter is that Williams was taking his record back from Roman Dossenbach, from Switzerland. Williams set the record in 2015 at 2,220, then Dossenbach beat it with 2,392 push-ups. So Williams beat that record by almost three hundred extra reps.

[For more high-rep madness, check out our piece on the most insanely heavy, high-rep barbell exercises we’ve seen!]

“I did it to prove I’m the best,” Williams said.

As the Guinness World Records state on their site, this particular record is “one of the most hotly contested fitness records we monitor, with three challengers raising the bar since Carlton achieved a total of 2,220 back in 2015.”

If you’ve got time to kill, you can watch the entire hour of push-ups in the video below. It averages out to roughly 45 per minute, and he takes short breaks throughout.

All he says at the end of the clip is, “Thanks, everybody. That wasn’t my best.”

We’ll admit that we didn’t watch the entire thing, but we saw enough to know that Williams would get “no rep”ed pretty quickly in a CrossFit box or a military workout, since his chest rarely touches the ground.

Guinness says on their site:

Doing the push ups, he had to lower his body until a 90 degree angle was attained at the elbow, in order to add the rep to his tally and for it to be accepted by Guinness World Records.

We couldn’t find the world record for most chest-to-ground push-ups in an hour, but we did find this video of the most push-ups completed in twenty-four hours: 46,001, by American Charles Servizio in 1993.

Then there’s this record for most one-fingered push-ups in thirty seconds. China’s Guizhong Xie hit forty-one in thirty seconds, crushing his previous record of twenty-five.

Note that Guinness allows you to do these on your knuckle, if you want. Xie decided not to.

Meanwhile, the current world record for freestanding handstand push-ups? Twenty-nine in a minute. There’s no footage of it, but there is this clip of the previous record holder, Armenian Manvel Mamoyan, hitting twenty-seven reps.

It’s very impressive, but we wouldn’t be surprised if a CrossFit athlete came along and casually broke that record in one set.

Featured image via Guinness World Records on YouTube.

The post Watch This 52-Year-Old Smash the World Record for Most Push-Ups In an Hour appeared first on BarBend.

Dave Castro Announces Max Snatch Event for 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games

How to Grow Strongman in the United States

Dumbbell Thrusters vs Barbell Thrusters vs Kettlebell Thrusters

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

BREAKING: CBS Sports Set to Air 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games (And Pre-Games Coverage)

CBS Sports has just announced they’ll be airing and covering the 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games. Coverage is set to start tomorrow Thursday, July 20th, at 8 P.M. EST, and go through the final day of the Games on Sunday, August 6th at 10 P.M. EST.

The coverage starting tomorrow will highlight individual competitors, teams, and the history of the Games. Additionally, on Monday, October 16th, CBS Sports will air highlights about athletes and one hour specials from the 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games. These highlights and specials will go through the end of 2017, and the network has also said they’ll air a two hour special in December of the CrossFit Invitational.

When the Games officially start, fans can watch two hours of live coverage after each day of competition on CBS Sports at 10 P.M. EST. And live coverage will air on Saturday, August 5th at 1 P.M. EST, which will be aired on CBS Sports as well.

Image courtesy CBS Sports video. 

If you don’t have access to CBS Sports network, or a television, then you’ll be able to watch the Games online at the CrossFit Games website and through Facebook. Earlier this year, CrossFit signed a deal with Facebook to live stream major events, which we got a taste of during Regionals.

Below is the schedule of the four pre-games special CBS Sports will be airing.

“Road to the Fittest: The History”- July 20, 2017, 8 p.m. ET
“Road to the Fittest: Men’s Contenders”- July 20, 2017, 8:30 p.m. ET
“Road to the Fittest: Women’s Contenders”- July 27, 2017, 8 p.m. ET
“Road to the Fittest: The Champions”- July 27, 2017, 8:30 p.m. ET

The partnership with CBS Sports could do big things to further the sport of CrossFit by potentially bringing in more viewership. Last year, and years in the past, CrossFit was aired on ESPN with pre-game and official Games coverage running in a similar manner. Could CBS Sports bring in a larger demographic of viewership to this year’s Games? In addition, the new Facebook Live deal may bring in a larger reach for the sport as well.

From the CBS Sports article, Justin Bergh, General Manager of the CrossFit Games said, “We’re excited that CBS Sports is our new television partner. CrossFit athletes are unquestionably the fittest in the world and the CrossFit Games are their ultimate proving grounds. We’re thrilled that CBS Sports platforms will air our entire season and we look forward to teaming up to showcase the CrossFit community.” 

In addition, Dan Weinberg, Executive Vice President of Programming of CBS Sports went on to say, “We are pleased to partner with CrossFit and bring this exciting and intense competition to the CBS Sports platforms.” Then added, “CrossFit is more than just a sport, it’s a lifestyle with a dedicated worldwide following and we are eager to showcase these physically gifted athletes. Competitive fitness is a high-growth sports genre and adding CrossFit to our programming expands our commitment to the space.”

Feature image screenshot from CBS Sports video. 

The post BREAKING: CBS Sports Set to Air 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games (And Pre-Games Coverage) appeared first on BarBend.

How to Watch the 2017 Senior Pan American Weightlifting Championships

Kevin Oak Pulls a 370kg (815 lb) Deadlift PR

Reebok Launches Fantasy CrossFit (With Insane Prizes)

Competition Tips for the Traveling Strongman

6 Benefits of Kettlebell Thrusters

Kinesiology Taping for Tennis Elbow

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Sports Acupuncture – Can It Benefit Strength Athletes?

Susan Salazar Nails a World Record Total and a 602 Wilks

Position USA Discount Coupon Code

So You Wanna Be a Powerlifter? Know Your Equipment

In our first episode, we discussed different powerlifting federations you can compete in. This week we’ll explore the equipment available to athletes in each of those federations.

The decision about which federation to compete in is often heavily influenced by the equipment you choose to use when you compete. Let’s talk a little bit about the difference between ‘raw’ and ‘equipped’ powerlifting:

Raw powerlifting refers to lifts performed without the use of supportive suits and shirts. What constitutes ‘raw powerlifting’ varies from federation to federation which I’ll explain more below. This style of lifting is often more accessible to beginners.

Equipped powerlifting is a category of lifting which uses supportive equipment. Within equipped powerlifting there are single-ply and multi-ply suits and shirts. This supportive equipment will aid the lifter in moving more weight – if the lifter can master the necessary techniques to use said equipment properly!  

The IPF

The IPF’s raw division is called “Classic”, and constitutes the use of a “non-supportive suit” – or singlet, a T-shirt made of non-supportive material, legless underwear, socks, a lifting belt, shoes or boots, knee sleeves (not knee wraps!), and wrist wraps.  

For the IPF, ‘Equipped’ lifting is the use of single-ply supportive suits for the squat and deadlift, knee wraps for the squat, and a single-ply supportive shirt for the bench press. (all sourced from IPF Technical Rule Book 2017).

100% RAW

In the 100% RAW Federation, they only allow the use of a non-supportive suit or singlet, a lifting belt, and wrist wraps. The rulebook states that a lifter cannot use “elbow sleeves, knee wraps, knee sleeves, tape applied around a limb or finger, supportive lifting suit, supportive briefs, compression shorts, supportive shirts or compression shirts”. As implied by the name of the federation, 100% RAW does not have an Equipped lifting category.

IPL/GPC/IPA/SPF

The IPL has a number of divisions, which include; ‘raw’ to the same rules as the IPF’s ‘Classic’ division, as well as ‘Classic Raw’ which allows the use of knee wraps in addition to the usual singlet, belt, and wrist wraps.

The IPA, GPC, SPF, and others have a ‘Multi-Ply Equipped’ division where the use of multi-ply suits is allowed. The biggest difference between multi-ply and single-ply equipment is the number of layers of material used. Multi-ply equipment is generally more supportive and lifters using it often handle larger loads. The biggest single ply squat in IPF history is 505kg, while the biggest multi-ply squat is 575kg. (as of June 2017). It is worth noting that multi-ply meets allow the use of briefs that lifters wear under their squat and deadlift suits for added support.

All federations will have specifications for the equipment that is useable in competition in a given division. If you’re curious, just check their rule-book. For example, the IPF only allows certain brands who have paid to be ‘approved’ on the platform at higher level meets – usually National level and up.

Up next week, we’ll talk about some of the information you’ll need to know to register for your first powerlifting meet!

The post So You Wanna Be a Powerlifter? Know Your Equipment appeared first on BarBend.

Kinesiology Tape for Shoulder Pain and Stability

Official Strongman Announces New Online Qualifier (and Path to World’s Strongest Man)

Official Strongman made an announcement a few days ago that left every aspiring strongman and woman looking at flights to North Carolina. This news that has caused waves in the strength world is that they will be hosting — along with Train Strongman — a World’s Strongest festival, to be held in North Carolina this December. The show will have 7 World titles on offer, and even a qualifying spot for Giants Live.

World’s Strongest Man: Masters
World’s Strongest Man: 105kg / 231lbs
World’s Strongest Man: 90kg / 198lbs
World’s Strongest Man: 80kg / 176lbs
World’s Strongest Woman: Open
World’s Strongest Woman: 82kg / 180lbs
World’s Strongest Woman: 64kg / 141lbs
Giant’s Live Qualifier: Open Mens

Let’s be honest: we all grew up watching World’s Strongest Man on TV and wanted nothing more than to be given a world stage to pull planes and flip tires just like the athletes on our screens.

Until recently, that was nothing more than a fantasy for all but a select few 6ft+, 180kg monsters (and Lalas). That’s not to say though that there weren’t competitions for the lightweights and women. There most definitely were, but despite some fantastic efforts from promoters, they’ve never been shown the same love by the higher ups in the sport. Hopefully this festival could be the first step in the right direction to making that a reality.

The big boys (superheavyweight/open men) haven’t been left out either, but they instead will be competing for a place at Giants Live, which is in turn a World’s Strongest Man Qualifier.

Official Strongman attempted something of a similar type last year with their Official Strongman, European and North American Championships. Both these shows were again a great start, but with only two events – a max log and deadlift – it missed out on the nuances that make strongman so exciting. This show, however, appears to have rectified that missing element, and knowing the guys involved, especially Aaron Molin, I’d expect this to be a heck of an event.

Qualification couldn’t be simpler, as a big part of Official Strongman’s philosophy is that as long as you have access to basic strongman equipment you should have the opportunity to show what you can do. As such the qualifying process is entirely online and consists of just three events.

The Deadlift – Total Tonnage in 30 seconds

Though the total tonnage in 30 seconds isn’t exactly classic strongman, it is at least interesting to see OSM move away from the one rep maxes they started with. The rules for this appear to be remarkably simple: max reps at a weight of your choosing with every rep coming to a dead stop on the ground and your score being reps completed (I’m calling Colin’s final rep out…) multiplied by weight on the bar. Belts and straps, etc. are allowed, though suits are not. Hitching isn’t mentioned in the video, but this is still strongman, so I imagine that’s still allowed.

Hopefully a plethora of differing theories will arise about the best weight to pick for this event over the coming months. Personally though I’m looking at it as a continuous fifteen rep max with a time cap. The time frame is just too short for any more reps, as in reality there are very few people who could maintain a pace faster than two seconds per dead stop rep regardless of weight. My advice for all three of these events is to use fractional plates wherever possible as there will likely be a lot of people getting roughly fifteen reps at each standard weight. So if your gym has fractional plates, put your ego to one side and throw them on the bar, that extra kilo adds up over 15 reps.       

The Log – Three rep max shoulder to overhead

This event I really like: beautifully simple and a near perfect test of pressing power. Clean the log from the floor to your shoulders once, and then any way you please get the weight from yours shoulders to locked out overhead three times. This can be a push press, a jerk, or a strict press if you are feeling strong. Really there are no special tactics or tricks, just go as heavy as you can and try to get all three reps.

The Farmers – Max weight for 100ft (No drops)

While the other two qualifier events are relatively standard practice, this one is a little outside the box. Basically it’s a max weight farmer’s walk for 100ft with a turn at the halfway point, heaviest weight wins, with time to be used to separate tie breakers. It gets complicated though at that halfway point, as only one foot has to ‘break’ the line at the other end, making a big part of this event just negotiating that turn.

If you have little or no experience at taking turns with farmer’s walks, it’s something I would recommend spending a lot of time practicing, as that awkward turn will catch a lot of folks out. We gave this a go this week, and that turn really is the game changer. After a couple of attempts the technique that seemed to work the best was to go into the corner slow and wide, then not speed up until the handles have settled again.

As weight is the key factor here I’d almost entirely ignore the time element of this event and focus solely on going as heavy as you can (slap the fractional plates on, too). If you have access to multiple farmers then you might want to select the shortest handles you have as the longer they are the harder that turn is going to be.

There you have it: the three events that you need to master to make it to World’s Strongest Man.    

Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

The post Official Strongman Announces New Online Qualifier (and Path to World’s Strongest Man) appeared first on BarBend.

3 Benefits of Toes to Bar

Sunday, July 9, 2017

What CrossFitters Can Learn from Bodybuilding

I like to do silly things. If you read my article on attempting to run 100 miles in 24 hours with nothing but strength training behind me, then this statement won’t surprise you. While that particular endeavor was a glorious failure in the sense that I came up short by 38 miles, I learned so much about how my body works in those 24 hours that has since made me a better ‘athlete’ today. So when my training partner told me that he was going to get in shape for a bodybuilding show by sticking almost entirely to CrossFit® training, I was interested enough to follow him around with a camera and track his progression.

CrossFit Kroy’s Head Coach, Ricky T, before and after  

Honestly I expected Ricky’s attempt to go about as well as my run, but I was wrong. Eight weeks out from the competition, Rick had lost 10kgs, looked more muscular, was moving better, and was actually a little bit stronger. Which I suppose shouldn’t be surprising given that in recent years CrossFit has become a bit of a go to for the average guy or girl on the street who wants to lose a little fat and gain a little muscle. And for good reason, too: big compound movements, hard work, and good diet is a potent combination that works. It was working wonders for people long before it was neatly packaged and trademarked, back then though it was just thought of as lifting and conditioning.

In those early days, bodybuilders and strength athletes were for the most part one and the same, with many bodybuilding shows being split into two parts, the first being the typical posing routine and the second a strength element typically a weightlifting competition. As such the strong had to look good and the jacked had to be strong.    

And whether we admit it or not that’s what most of us want, to not only be strong and athletic but to look as well. With that in mind there are a few things strength and functional fitness athletes can learn from the bodybuilding world.

Lesson One – Are you as lean as you think?

One of the great things about bodybuilding is that it forces you to honestly assess the state of your body. When you get on that stage you can’t hide behind flattering clothes, good lighting, or that filter that makes you look jacked; you’re laid bare. In prep for his competition the first thing Ricky did was strip down and take a load of relaxed photos in neutral lighting (outside) to give him an honest starting point. The results were as expected; he was softer than he’d thought.

Abs that were fully visible under the overhead lights of the gym weren’t popping anymore, and muscles that look great flexed appeared flat. While modern day strength sports don’t require an aesthetic component, keeping track of your body fat levels is still important, not only for performance but for health as well. You could argue that extra body fat might help you better fit a suit but aside from geared lifting that excess body fat won’t make you a better athlete, it will however put your health at risk.  

Chances are if you take this whole competitive fitness lark seriously you’ll be doing a lot right already. Just look at the CrossFit Games athletes and you will see just what incredible shape that style of training can get you in, with most of the competitors looking like they are only a water cut away from being able to step on a natural bodybuilding stage (a rabbit hole we won’t go down today). So if you’re not as lean as you’d like to be, chances are that it’s your diet that’s holding you back.

Take stock of what you are eating; do you really need to go 1000 calories over maintenance just to fuel today’s 40 minute session? For that matter, do you even know how many calories you’re eating? If not try for a week plugging everything you eat into an app like myFitnessPal, this will not only make you aware of each food choice but also provide reliable feedback on the total calories and breakdown of the macros.

Lesson Two – Accessories have their place.

The other thing you notice when you get some brutally honest photos taken is that often you are not the perfectly proportioned greek god you thought you were. Don’t worry, you are not alone; years of jerking anything heavier than 80kg over head has left me with zero shoulders, Ricky struggled with hamstrings being relatively smaller than his quads, and everyone else has their weaknesses, too. Sadly, just doing more of the big lifts probably isn’t going to make the situation any better and might even just make it worse.

In big compound lifts your body will work out the most effective way to move the weight, favoring the stronger muscles and protecting the weaker ones. To counter this you need to target those weak muscles and those weak muscles alone. This won’t just make you prettier but will also help you add kilos to your compound movements. Something I was skeptical to believe for a long time until I saw Ricky’s deadlift shoot up at a lower body weight, the only difference a tonne of hamstring isolation work.

Lesson Three – Bad foods can be good foods.

For the general population Paleo is fantastic, anything that cuts out the refined foods that litter the vast majority of diets can only be considered a good thing. However, just like BMI is good for the general populace but terrible for athletes, Paleo too can fall short for those pushing the limits in training. If you are training hard at least 7 times a week while adhering to a strict Paleo diet, you could be missing out on a lot. Mainly enough carbohydrates to recover fully between sessions.

And if you are eating Paleo for fat loss and are seeing progress slow down, you might want to start looking at packaged food again. Packaged food comes weighed and measured, while natural food does not. Something I only truly appreciated while watching Ricky whittle a jacket potato down to 100g before cooking it. As the weeks went on and motivation waned, this just became an unnecessary drain and more and more of his carb sources came from packaged products like grits: Foods that were tamper proof, so that he couldn’t accidentally add a little more here and there when he was hungry. Those grams and calories add up.

Lesson Four – It can go too far.

At 8 weeks out Ricky was stronger than ever and flying through WODS; at four weeks out he was struggling mentally but still able to hit 90% of his 1RMs on most lifts and was still coherent enough for skills like double-unders. With ten days to go though, that all fell apart. It was like talking to a dead man, a dead man who does nothing but slowly pedal an Assault Bike and curl. On 800 calories a day you can’t do much else.

If you want to be a strength athlete, you can learn a lot from bodybuilders. No sport requires more total dedication and disregard for your own misery but don’t let it go too far. Keep yourself lean, train accessories and don’t be dogmatic in your eating. But if you do go down the bodybuilding rabbit hole, don’t worry; fueled by a week’s worth of pizza, he was doing a fitness comp a few days later.       

Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

The post What CrossFitters Can Learn from Bodybuilding appeared first on BarBend.

5 Effective Tips for Stronger Handstands

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

After Two Hip Replacements, Ed Coan Squats 585 Pounds for Reps

Wes Kitts Hits a 220kg Clean in Training, Closes in on American Record

Here’s the First Announced Event of the 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games

Celebrating America’s 5 World’s Strongest Man Winners

In the Revolutionary War, Americans proved they were of strong resolve and conviction… but did they even lift?

As you toast to our independence, remember these five exceptional Americans who proved to the world our citizens are not merely tough, they’re strong.

Bruce Wilhelm of Sunnyvale, California – ’77 & ‘78 (Born in 1945)

Bruce Wilhelm snatched 400lbs before any other American.

A fifth-place Olympic weightlifter at Montreal in 1976, Bruce Wilhelm was invited to the inaugural World’s Strongest Man the following year.

The first WSM featured a motley crew of American athletes with Italian bodybuilder Franco Columbu the lone exception. There were weightlifters, powerlifters, bodybuilders, a hammer thrower, and even NFL guard Bob Young, who proved to be incredibly strong.

At 6’3.5”, 326lbs Wilhelm was the biggest man at the 1977 World’s Strongest Man. He utilized his considerable size advantage and weightlifting background to great effect.

After multiple failed efforts, Wilhelm was the only man to lift and press a 250-pound barrel – and he did so after multiple failed efforts. He also made short work of his smaller foes in the Tug-of-War.

Perhaps most impressively, however, he rocketed his gargantuan body forward to win the Wheelbarrow Race, the Vehicle Pull, and the Fridge Carry. After which he exclaimed, “Bodybuilders aren’t in shape for this kind of stuff – you’ve got to be strong.”

Back in 1977, no men were training for strongman. Strongman didn’t exist. (The Highland Games existed, but nothing quite like the World’s Strongest Man.) In 1978, however, competitors had a clue as to what they could expect. They trained specifically for the events, and more non-Americans joined the fray.

Bruce Wilhelm beat them, too.

Don Reinhoudt of Fredonia, New York – ‘79 (Born in 1945)

[Footage from Don Reinhoudt’s record-setting powerlifting meet]

Don Reinhoudt is the only Superheavyweight Powerlifter to win the IPF World Championships four times in a row (1973-1976). Though he retired from powerlifting after his fourth consecutive win, his raw total of 2391lbs held up until the year 2013.

Also about 6’3.5”, Reinhoudt weighed more than 360lbs as a powerlifter and retrained to strongman for health reasons, dropping over 100lbs of bodyweight in one year.

With his leaned-out frame, Reinhoudt finished second to Wilhelm in 1978 and came back hungry for victory. Then, he staved off proven contender Lars Hedlund and the now-legendary Bill Kazmaier (in his rookie year).

Don Roundhoudt’s Wikipedia page is a treasure trove of unbelievable numbers. If you add up his best lifts (outside of competition), you sum an otherworldly 2556lbs. Sadly, this strength demi-god tore his biceps and hamstring at the 1980 WSM, ending his career, and making way for the birth of another American legend.

Bill Kazmaier of Burlington, Wisconsin – ’80, ’81, ‘82 (Born in 1953)

Bill Kazmaier is the only American on the short list of the World’s Strongest Man Hall of Fame.

In 1980, five nations were represented at WSM – the most ever for the competition up to that point. But it didn’t matter who turned up.

Kazmaier won a laundry list of events: the Bar Bend, the Girl Lift (a smith-machine squat with 1980s flair), the Deadlift, the Tug-of-War, the Engine Race (a modified Wheelbarrow Race), and even tied in the Log Lift.

The man affectionately known as Kaz’ went on to etch the first three-peat in World’s Strongest Man history, an accomplishment that wouldn’t be matched until Magnus Ver Magnusson earned his second, third, and fourth titles between 1994 and ’96.

Astonishingly, Bill Kazmaier was not invited to participate in the World’s Strongest Man contests following 1982. Believe it or not, the producers of the show thought it would be boring to see the same man win too many years in a row.

And yet, if you ask the humble 1983 & ’85 winner Geoff Capes, he’ll tell you, “…on a pound-for-pound level, at that time, [Bill Kazmaier] was probably the strongest man in the world.”

Phil Pfister of Charleston, West Virginia – ‘06 (Born in 1971)

Americans won the first six WSM contests, but when the popularity of strongman surged on the world stage, they fell into a dry spell.

Scandinavians had won eight years in a row before Polish powerhouse Mariusz Pudzianowski began his reign in 2002. Despite an off year in 2004 (where he was disqualified for banned substances after finishing in third), Pudzianowski seemed unbeatable. But all men are mortal.

Phil Pfister had never seen the podium before beating one of the greatest strongmen of all time, and he did it with fanfare.

In a very difficult Overhead Lift event, no one, including Mariusz Pudzianowski, could lift more than two-out-of-four stones. Mariusz thrust his two up in the fastest time, and was holding onto first place when Pfister stepped up to perform.

Pfister not only lifted the third stone, clinching first place… he went ahead and lifted the fourth stone in a show of psychological warfare to his rival.

Later, Pfister would close the contest in a razor close finish at the Atlas Stones.

“I did it my way, and no one can stop you if you want to do it your way.” – Phil Pfister

Brian Shaw of Fort Lupton, Colorado – ’11, ’13, ’15, ‘16 (Born in 1982)

[Brian Shaw’s willpower on display, deadlifting 1073lbs through injury]

As it turns out, size matters. Phil Pfister was a fast-moving giant, at 6’6”, 370lbs. Brian Shaw, however, may need another descriptor.

At 6’8”, ~435lbs, Brian Shaw is a super-giant. Like his predecessor Pfister, he manages to move that mass with incredible speed, performing as a true all-rounder.

Second only to his chief rival Zydrunas Savickas in Top-3 placements, he’s seen the podium more than any other American: eight times. And while Savickas may have two more showings in the Top-3, it is a good deal in part because he has spent a decade longer in the sport.

Only nine strongmen have won the competition more than once. With four wins, he stands beside Savickas, and Iceland’s greatest lifters, Jon Pall Sigmarsson and Magnus Ver Magnusson. But Shaw is primed to tie Mariusz Pudzianowski’s record of five titles.

Shaw may not have won in 2017, but he continues to break and set records on an annual basis. So long as he is active, America is viable for strongman gold.

Featured image: The World’s Strongest Man on YouTube

Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

The post Celebrating America’s 5 World’s Strongest Man Winners appeared first on BarBend.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

How to Make Two-A-Day Strength Training Work for You

I try to avoid talking too much about lifting outside of the strength world. Understandably most people just don’t care what you do in the gym, and for the most part the ones who do are often after justification for their woefully misguided habits. But every now and then someone will ask a direct lifting question that just can’t be politely avoided. As was the case a few weeks ago at a job interview for a marketing role at a ‘healthy’ food chain, assuming I was in safe company I opened up.

“So how often do you train?”
“Probably about two to three times.”

“A week?”

“A day.”

“Why would anyone do that?”

“Errrrrm, to get stronger”

Cue five minutes of me having to diplomatically explaining my rationale. Fortunately, though, that did mean I didn’t have to talk about my lack of marketing experience and I left that cafe with a job offer but sadly no prospective training partners. The reality is that despite the stigma, training multiple times a day isn’t just for professional athletes and weirdos; it’s a brilliant solution for anyone with easy access to a gym and who wants to get the most out of their sessions.

There are a couple of distinct ways to get in multiple sessions in a day, the first is what I’m recommending: to split up your main lifts and accessory work into two smaller sessions with a rest in the middle. The second option is to just add in more separate training sessions in. For the normal person, the latter is rarely feasible; full time jobs and social commitments have a nasty habit of robbing you of the required recovery time to train like a Bulgarian weight lifter.

The First Four Weeks

Schedule your training around your own day; what works for most is to go on the way to or from work, with a morning ‘pump’ session and then an afternoon/evening session with bigger weights and more intensity. This not only provides the most recovery time between sessions but cuts down on travel to the gym. If you have a home or garage gym then it’s even easier.

Easing yourself into this higher frequency is key to not burning out in the first few weeks; instead of just jumping in with twice the heavy sessions a week’s start easy and build. The following four week plan has proven to do just that, and think of it as a warm up for your main session.

In the beginning these morning sessions are just designed to get you moving and reinforcing the fundamental movements. Resist the temptation to skip this vital piece of the puzzle and just jump into double deadlift days, your body will thank you and you’ll start to see improvements in movement and strength before the four weeks are up.

Week One and Two Morning Session

  • Five Sets of Pull-ups (3-5 reps short of failure)
  • Five sets of Push-ups (5-10 reps short of failure)
  • Five sets of 15 on a GHD (Kettlebell swings work in a push as a replacement)
  • Five sets of 5 paused front squats (keeping it light)

Week One and Two Evening Session

  • Train as normal, following your typical program.

Week Three and Four Morning Session

  • Five Sets of Pull ups (2 reps short of failure) supersetted with Five sets of Push-ups (5 reps short of failure)
  • Five sets of 15 on a GHD (Kettlebell swings work in a push as a replacement) supersetted with Five sets of 5 paused front squats (keeping it light)
  • One accessory movement from the evening session.

Week One and Two Evening Session

  • As normal but without the accessory movements done in the morning from the morning session.

The Real Deal

As your body and routine adjusts to the increased frequency and volume of the two a days, you can start to tweak up the program a little, though I heavily suggest keeping the pull ups, push ups, light squats, and posterior chain movements in (read more about bodyweight training for strength here). You can put these fundamental movements together in a circuit and blast through them in twenty minutes, but your body will thank you. On top of these basics you can start to add more intense movements/heavier weights into these AM sessions as you feel ready.

The best way to do this is to slowly swap your evenings accessory movements into the morning sessions. This leaves you with more time and energy to really get the most out of the big lifts or WODS in the evening. The other option is to use those morning sessions to bring up a weakness and maybe even make it a strength. Struggling to jerk? You won’t be after working the technique every morning for a couple of weeks; the same goes for fat loss, conditioning, or almost any other movement.

Just remember whatever you do in the gym, you need to be able to recover from, so if you are struggling to lock out heavy deadlifts, maxing out on rack pulls every morning is not the answer. But high volume dumbbell rows and technique work might be a good start.

Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

Images: Christo Bland

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